Last time we checked in on Mamadou Samb, he was fresh off a quality performance in the U-20 European Championships. The Senegalese born, Spanish naturalized big man didn't dominate by any means, but he played with energy and made an impact with his 6'10 frame, length, and mobility. Samb had a nice season alongside Xavi Rabaseda for Barcelona's second team, CB Cornella, in the LEB gold before flirting with the NBA draft. Deciding to return to Spain, Samb has added some weight and found some success in limited minutes in his first full season in the ACB, but remains a work in progress.
Based on our observations from October of last year, Samb's game hasn't changed too much, but the level of competition he's competing at has skyrocketed. Able to impose his size around the basket on the youth and LEB levels, Samb has faced new challenges since first suiting up with CB Granada. Averaging just 9 minutes per-game behind former Golden State Warrior Rob Kurz and Minnesota Timberwolves draft pick Paulo Prestes, Samb is fairly low on Granada's depth chart. He isn't more than a fifth option when he steps on the floor, meaning he gets very few chances to show what he can do in the post or in one-on-one situations in general. This would likely be true in more situations, since his lack of physical strength would make it difficult for him to establish position down low and his floor game is only in its infancy.
Regardless, Samb still flashes some of the same skills that made him productive in the LEB and on the junior level. He stays active on both ends, allowing him to earn some easy looks around the rim, which he finishes at a good rate. He also flashes the ability to knock down jump shots out to the three-point line, something it took his brother Chiekh much longer to develop during his NBA stint. Samb's consistency from that range remains erratic at best, and though he can put the ball on the floor for an occasional straight line drive, his floor game lacks polish and he still needs to continue working on his hands and developing his skill-level to become a more attractive prospect from a NBA perspective.
Defensively, Samb lacks the bulk to defend the paint, the lateral quickness to step out and defend the perimeter, leaves his feet too easily down low, and is clearly still polishing his fundamentals. It will take him some time to get used to making crisp rotations to cut off driving lanes, as he seems a step slow. Despite his limitations, his tremendous wingspan causes some problems for would-be finishers at the rim, and he plays with nice energy and scrappiness that leaves some room for optimism if he improves his strength and awareness.
Looking forward, Samb may not be a prime candidate to hear his name called in the NBA draft when he becomes automatically eligible this June, but he has size, length, and is still gaining experience. His brother has made some strides over the years, but Samb should look to Boniface N'Dong as an example of how to parlay a long, skinny frame into a highly successful career in European basketball.